Bangladesh consumer group warns government against fuel prices hike

Raising the prices of fuel oil or gas will further hit the pocket of the people who are already struggling to cope up with skyrocketing costs for essential commodities, the chief of Consumers Association of Bangladesh has said.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the consumer rights organisation's President Ghulam Rahman also alleged a lack of efforts to increase domestic gas production. He criticised the authorities for organising a public hearing on proposals to raise gas prices even though people are already suffering due to a shortage of fuel. He said the government appeared unwilling to raise the prices of fuel oil and gas. “The problem will go if the government orders the companies to withdraw their proposals to raise the prices.” Ghulam said CAB believes Petrobangla’s proposal to increase gas prices by 117 percent is “ridiculous”. “These companies are making profits. They're even giving an incentive bonus.” The technical committee of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission has recommended a 20 percent hike in gas prices, but CAB’s calculation suggests the prices can be cut, he said. He said the authorities' indifference to increasing domestic gas production is clearly visible. “Moreover, we've seen efforts to appoint foreign companies to produce gas instead of increasing the capability of the local firms.”

The cabinet committee on government purchase on Wednesday approved a proposal to buy 3.36 million metric million British thermal units (mmBtu) liquefied natural gas or LNG from Singapore’s Vitol Energy.

The price of the LNG has been set at $29.25 per unit, down 20 percent from the price set

during last month’s purchase.

Only a year ago, Bangladesh bought LNG at $7.21 per unit. But the prices jumped on the international market amid the Russia-Ukraine war.

The committee also approved proposals to buy 300,000 tonnes of gas oil from an Indonesian firm at Tk 32.74 billion and 75,000 tonnes of jet fuel from Singapore’s Unipec at Tk 7.8 billion.